Guest blog: By a B.C. dairy farmer
To me, the word sustainable has become a buzz word,or marketing doublespeak. As an all encompassing management practice, I prefer the term stewardship. And I try to put this into practice in all areas, not strictly agriculture. As a Christian, I have a biblical mandate to manage what I have been given.
Stewardship encompasses sustainability, but with the acknowledgment that what I have is on loan. Stewardship is respecting the privilege I have to farm, and employing the best welfare and management practices I can to ensure that my children have the same opportunity.
Welfare and management practices dictate the future of farming, and as technology advances agriculture cannot afford to fall behind. Short sighted thinking deprives future generations of the opportunities we have been given. Artisan and all natural products may have been sustainable practices in the past, but with the global population over 7 billion they are marketing to a select group with above average finances.
The world simply cannot employ centuries old farming methods and hope to feed the world at the same time. This is not to say that farming cannot provide the same level of care as it once did however. Advancements in technology and animal welfare continue to provide high levels of care to animals and farmland, while adapting to an increasing demand for more output.
The goal of my family farm is to have animals that are content and well cared for. Our first priority is the animals, and often they eat and sleep well before their caretakers. In fact when we bought our farm, we hadn’t seen the inside of either of the two houses on the property. The facilities were far more important, and that thinking continues to be the motivator every area of management.
One of the favorite features when visitors tour the farm is the cow brush, which automatically grooms the cows who stand under it. It adds little value from an economic standpoint, but it is rewarding to work with content animals, and that makes farming fun.
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Posted by FFC on March 19th, 2012 :: Filed under Animal care,Dairy cattle,Future of Farming,Sustainability
Tags :: dairy cattle, sustainability, technology
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